Thursday, April 30, 2009

All things green and growing

I've been outside too much to post here ... OK, that's not entirely true. But I have been outside a lot, in my little front yard, playing in the dirt with zucchini (GOD HELP US), foxgloves, moving dusty miller, and about 20 other plants.

So I made some rookie mistakes.

1. I bought one of each plant that looked cool, instead of three or four, so there's a hodgepodge look out there right now. The unifying force is the dusty miller in the back. I'm trying to group things together better.

2. I didn't come up with a visual focus at first. Again, dusty miller to the rescue!

3. I planted four zucchini seedlings too close together.

4. We now have 20 cups of cilantro and ... one onion.

So, yes. I'm starting to see the problems in a tiny garden. If I were to plant enough onions to root cellar (which I do want to do), the entire yard would be ... onions. I'm working with about six feet wide by sixteen feet long here. If I wanted enough tomatoes to pickle some green, and to can the rest (which I do), the whole thing would have to be in tomatoes. Same with peas, spinach and so on. So right now I just have a mix of a little of everything (even some things I can't eat -- it's all an experiment at this point), but I wish I had planted more onions.

Ginger triumph: You know how at the store you have to buy an entire "hand" of fresh ginger when you just need 1 tsp. grated for a recipe? And then it goes bad? That happens to me all the time. Last night I was putting together a spice kit for my mom and I wondered if I could make that fresh ginger into powdered ginger that you put in cookies, pie spice, and such. So I peeled and grated a thumb of the ginger, spread it on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and baked it at 200 degrees with the oven door open for about an hour. The result was little hardened bits of ginger ... which, when ground up with a mortar and pestle or one's fingertips, made POWDERED GINGER. I'm pleased as punch.

Little House update: I'm more Farmer Boy than Plum Creek right now. Although it's a conceit to pretend I have as much acreage, experience and resources as the Wilders, the one thing I do have is their stay-puttedness. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get a nice garden in only to be dragged back to Iowa or forward to De Smet anytime soon because my husband has an itchy foot. (If he'd just stayed in Wisconsin ...!)

Putting the country in domesticity ...?: Speaking of the Man of the Place, he gave me the new title for this blog. The City wasn't accurate anymore, since I'm here in San Bruno, which feels more like the country to me, even though it's really a small town/suburb of The City. I am telling you that it feels like living in the country. If you know me, that's a good thing. Just need some horses to get me to the train depot in less than 20 minutes.